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My dad's just been diagnosed with extensive sclc (oat cell).


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We were told my dad (65) had cancer Wednesday and was diagnosed with sclc Thursday. A MRI revealed it is in his lung and lymph nodes. It's also in his lower spine. The past couple of months, we'd been to several different doctors because of major lower back pain. X-Rays couldn't find anything. It wasn't until a friend of dad's recommended he go to this spine diagnostic clinic. They found he had a fracture in his lower vertebrae. The doctor was suspicous when my dad couldn't recall what could have caused the fracture. He scheduled an out-patient procedure called Vertebroplasty (injecting cement into the fracture). The day of the procedure, Mon, Nov.13th, a biopsy was also done, which they said was routine. They said he would have instant relief after the Vertebroplasty, but the pain actually got a lot worse and that night, major muscle spasms, he was rushed to the hospital. The doctors were able to relieve the pain, and he was feeling a lot better. They scanned his back again, and said the procedure was a success. He was about to released from the hospital when the biospy came back as cancerous. They scanned again to find it was lung cancer, a spot on his lung and in his lymph nodes. The Dr. said 3 months to live without treatment. Yesterday, a scan was done of his brain and it was clear and normal. Praise God. He started chemo yesterday: etoposide/caroplatin for 3 days. They plan to do 3 more days of chemo again three weeks from now. Dr. Stagg said we would see how this works, and if it works well, then later, we will try Radiation. I'm wondering why he doesn't want to do radiation and chemo at the same time since the cancer is so fast-spreading. Why not try to knock it out full force instead of waiting? Also, what about trying this PCI to prevent it from going to his brain and/or laser therapy??? I've spent three days in shock and intense sadness trying to come to grips realizing what my loving, humble and gentle father will have now to face. Now, I'm jumping into a new mode of needing to know and understand the best way to attack this. Any advice any of you have would be greatly appreciated. I just found this website this morning and printed out Don's message on how to beat sclc. It's an inspiration.

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Welcome, Farrah. Sorry about your dad. The doctors may not want to do radiation and chemo at the same time because it really saps the person. My wife had both at the same time, but she had cancer throughout the body and it was essential to attack all the tumors right away. Radiation is normally used on a tumor that is causing severe pain or is threatening the integrity of the area (bone fracture). Sounds like they took care of the spinal fracture on your dad. Keep us posted. Don

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Hi Farrah,

I'm so sorry to hear about your dad. You found a great web site here with fantastic people.

My husband also was recently diagnosed with sclc. At first it was thought to be contained in the chest area. With that diagnoses, the treatment was to be carboplatin/etoposide for 3 days (like your dad), then during the second cycle adding aggressive radiation (2x a day -- not sure how many days). When it was discovered that the cancer had spread outside of the chest area, the game plan changed. Do the 6 cycles of chemo, then go back for radiation (including the brain).

I think also the idea with the aggressive radiation is to stop it spreading outside of the chest. Once it has, I think the primary concern is getting the chemo throughout the body. Then using the radiation to get what's left. That's my understanding, anyway.

I completely understand the panic about having the right treatment. I'm still nervous and unsure about it and am constantly researching.

You can get some useful printed information for free from www.lungcancerallieance.org. I just received mine in the mail yesterday.

Prayers and thoughts your way,


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so sorry about your dad, I know exactly what it feels like to be hit with all of this so quickly.

I can tell you some of the reasons that were told to my husband and myself as to the whys? and why nots of treatment of sclc.

number one thing to realize... sclc can be very very tricky to treat, I mean that because it is a fast moving cancer you don't want to wait for treatment, yet you can't overload a persons' system because then they could be down and out and not able to have any treatment.

What your dad is getting for treatment is what the onc call "the gold standard" - hopefully he will respond well to it...small cell if it has any good things is that it is very receptive to chemo and radiation, but you don't want to do both at the same time...it is too much on the body....

You also need to know that depending on where exactly his tumors are it may be difficult to radiate, as an example if it is to close to major blood vessels.

Also, you have to worry about micrometastis ( sorry about spelling ), which means the very very small cancer cells....

Please read my bio...below to see all my husband has gone thru....hopefully it will give you some insight as to what he has gone thru the past year...

I wish all the best for your dad


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My sincerest thanks to all of you for your warm welcome and insightful remarks to my questions. I know you all know how good it feels to be able to talk about this with other people who are going through it. My dad's onc (getting used to these slang words) said the same thing about the chemo and radiation - that it would be too much on my dad. They want to shrink it with the chemo and then later come in with radiation. Also, if they do chemo and radiation at the same time right off the bat and he doesn't respond, doc won't know which one didn't work.

Again, I thank all you for being here. This is my first time using a message board, and I'm so grateful this website is available.

An update: My dad finished his 1st 3 chemos yesterday and he did really well. He and my mom went back home from the hospital yesterday.

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